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Corus 09 r12: Traffic Jam Crosstable

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I made a serious error in calling this year's Corus tournament ridiculous when four players were tied for first on +2 with two rounds to play. Because this, THIS, is ridiculous. In one of the weirdest supertournament crosstables I've ever seen, six, count'em six, players are now tied for first place on +2 with one round to go. All the leaders drew their games while Carlsen and Karjakin joined the party, beating Smeets and Adams, respectively. Now they are in the lead, if a pack of six can be called a lead, with Dominguez, Aronian, Movsesian, and Radjabov. The only meeting of the leaders in the final round is Dominguez-Karjakin. Note that round 13 starts an hour earlier, at 6:30am EST.

A similarly bizarre, if inverse, crosstable stands out in my memory, that of Linares 2001. The final standings had Kasparov on top with 7.5/10 and the entire rest of the field, five players, all at -1. The winner then was barely ever in doubt, while here at Corus this year the winner hasn't been less certain since the start of the tournament. A tie for first at +3 between two players seems likely, but the improbable has ruled in Wijk aan Zee this year, so all bets are off. And courage has been in short supply there this year, so why not a six-way tie for first? Ugh. They don't use tiebreaks to decide the Corus champion, but they do use them to select the automatic qualifier to the Grand Slam final in Bilbao. If things are the same as last year, the first tiebreak is head-to-head and the second is Sonneborn-Berger system.

Carlsen seemed to overpower Smeets by brute force, finishing with a cute final move. You don't see Mickey Adams lose a Ruy Lopez so convincingly very often. Karjakin never gave him a chance after gaining a queenside initiative. Black could have won the exchange with 26..Ne2+ but the dark squares around the black king are so weak it's a position only a computer could like. The game wasn't much better though. To his great credit during a conservative round in a conservative tournament, Levon Aronian went for the clear lead against Morozevich. White doesn't quite have enough comp for the two pawns but it's devilishly hard for Black to get free from the back-rank bind created by the white f-pawn. Black had another shot at victory with 39..Qd3 40.Rg2 Nd7! when 41.Rd2 loses to 41..Nc5! So the white f-pawn falls and Black should be in the clear.

Radjabov and Dominguez are the only leaders with the white pieces in the final round. Round 13: Kamsky-Movsesian, Adams-van Wely, Dominguez-Karjakin, Morozevich-Ivanchuk, Smeets-Aronian, Wang-Carlsen, Radjabov-Stellwagen.

The sensible B group has only two leaders, Short and Kasimjanov, who beat L'Ami to catch up. We could have some drama in the final round as Short has black against Caruana, who's a half-point back along with Volokitin. Kasimjanov has black against Motylev. Wesley So locked up at least a share of first place in the C with a victory against his closest pursuer, former leader Hillarp-Persson. Both players were described as "very nervous" before the game by Italian chess journo Janis Nisii. So is 15 and only the even younger Anish Giri, 14, has a slim chance to catch him from a point back.

Thomas in the comments quoting Wijk aan Zee commentator IM Hans Boehm quoting Nigel Short (that's a high hearsay quotient, but it sounds like Nigel): "Why should I want to play in the A group? It means a tough game on every single day. Okay, I would earn a higher entrance fee, but I would have to hire a second so it isn't even that interesting financially speaking. No, I am perfectly fine in the B group! If I qualify for the top group I will sell my spot on the Internet!"

Even if in jest, this jibe jibes with his many previous comments about being very happy to have left the brutal head-crushing super-events behind in his dotage. He's been giving some good lessons in the B though, and next year's kiddies would certainly appreciate more. Maybe he could be B group member emeritus? I sympathized when Dutch legend Jan Timman ceased playing in Wijk aan Zee when he could no longer cope with the A group. (His last participation was 2004 at the age of 52.) But seeing Short playing good chess and having fun, I wish Timman would emulate him and return, even to the C group now that it's become so tough.


Viva la Short! Clear voice of Nigel so often ignored, yet the "Ring Of Truth". Kudos to Mig for his Consciousness. 64 Squares United.

The best of luck to GM Short. It would be funny to see what would really happen if he indeed wins.

As for the A group there are so many that deserve to win, let's see how this all ends at Wijk's D-Day.

From those //Freestyle// events we had a 17-way(!!) draw for the 1st prize on the +3. Maybe for the record. More like the peloton. The Karpov Poikovsky was 40% tied (4 from 10) in previous 2008.

Howabout Moro-Chucky for the last round who-cares game! Not for the prediction from the start.

Iturrizaga is +4-7=1 in Grupo C...but Leon Hoyos is +5-7 in the same. And Gupta is +6-5=1. Who needs draw rules? Just put these guys in. The rating favorite Sasikiran has a half-carton of goose-eggs in Grupo B.

Don't see why Smeets resigned against Carlsen. Nxc6 seems ok.

Again the ChessBase is with their anti-Karjakin tactics. He's back to tie the lead, and they only give a phtograph of the opponent Adams. Not so the same with Carlsen. If Ivanchuk gives Karjakin the courtesy countryman draw for Round 8, he'd be leading.

There was also Linares 2000, where Kasparov and Kramnik tied for first with 6.5/10, while the rest of the field, four players (including Anand), tied for third with 4.5/10.

Why didn't Smeets play on? Aronian (Black) stands worse it seems. Dominguez looks to have a chance to win, and be the sole victor. But it could be double-edged.

"If Ivanchuk gives Karjakin the courtesy countryman draw..."

Like the Soviets did in Curacao, 1962? Not very sportsmanlike, to say the least. Besides, I can't see what an effect the number of pictures of Karjakin in ChessBase reports could have on his performance.

@Mig (and everyone else): "high hearsay coefficient" - granted, but how significant is the difference between "Thomas quoting Boehm quoting Short" and "Thomas (or anyone else) quoting Chessbase/Chessvibes/New in Chess quoting Short"?
There are some differences: My quote can only be verified by those present in the commentary tent at the same time (an estimated >= 100-200 people), and they have to understand Dutch. Also, the exact words by Short may well have been lost in translation (from English to Dutch and back to English) and transmission.
To add something which everyone can verify [everyone who understands English, including Short's accent ,:)], I refer to the Chess FM video with Nigel Short (which I saw yesterday after posting my comment). At the end of the video Short says: "I am not gonna become world champion, I am probably not going back into the top ten. But my rating will improve, that's good enough." Nicely summarizing his (modest? realistic?) ambitions ... . BTW, the entire video contains quite a few other remarkable statements by Short.
The accompanying text (by Macauley Peterson?) leaves the impression that Short is serious about winning the B group and qualifying for the top group next year - so this may to some extent contradict me and Hans Boehm ... .

Anyway, thanks Mig for 'highlighting' my post - feels good to be in the company of GM Shirov ,:) [just a joke, before people start picking at me]

Wang Yue has managed to gift Carlsen some real chances (after 31. Ne3). Still perhaps a draw at this level. Hopefully Stellwagen won't follow the Smeets path with the tepid draw agreement in a superior position.

Not sure if Stellwagen's position was really superior, in any case it was drawn in the meantime.
Anyway, before today's round comes to a conclusion, another onsite report from yesterday: I found Aronian quite amazing: after reaching the time control with seconds left on the clock (and at the same time saving his game), he
- first approached Short for a friendly chat, putting his arm around him. Of course I couldn't hear what he told him, maybe something like "come on, I want to play you next year on one of those tables!" ,:) They certainly weren't discussing their respective games ... .
- then he had a quick look at all remaining games in the B and C group (all other games in his own group were over before the time control). He had a rather puzzled look at Pruijssers-Bosboom - after the time scramble, black was almost an entire queen down, he resigned one move later ...
- only then he disappeared from the stage for a while, as most other GM's probably would have done right away.


"To add something which everyone can verify [everyone who understands English, including Short's accent ,:)]"

Short's accent seems perfectly understandable for a foreigner (for me, to be specific), though It's not an RP, I believe.

Too double-edged for Dominguez. Complete chaos in his attack, and Karjakin wins! And suddenly Carlsen is the one in trouble with Wang Yue. Stellwagen pulled the Smeets trip with agreeing to the "professional draw" -- will they be back next year?

Ivanchuk with the blunder of the tournament (Kd7??) to give the full point to Morozevich. Kamsky unable to overcome the tourist Movsesian. And Adams and Van Wely were never playing for much in any case. At move 60 and into the next time control, Wang Yue had 5 minutes, while Carlsen has managed to bank an hour; perhaps he will play for a grind-down from an inferior position? If he gets his king off the back rank and starts pushing the g-h pawns, anything could happen. Big if, though.

It was a joke ... . As far as I am concerned, I am European but still more used to hearing American English - but this is clearly not the place to discuss the relative merits of British vs. American English (with Mig or anyone else)!?

More to the chess point: Does anyone else also watch the key games of the B group? Both Caruana-Short and Motylev-Kasimdzhanov are hard to assess for me, though I think that Kasim can at most hope for a draw after "something went wrong" earlier in the game.

wasnt dominguez winning after 0-0-0? 29Bxg6+ instead of Rh1+? Am I missing something?

Oops, Carlsen made some missteps around the 2nd time control, and Wang Yue looks to be high and dry, which leaves:

+3: Karjakin
+2: Radjabov, Aronian, Movsesian
+1: Dominguez, Carlsen
+0: Kamsky
-1: Van Wely, Smeets, Wang Yue
-2: Ivanchuk, Stellwagen, Adams, Morozevich

So nobody loses! :)

Not sure how it is in others countries (England 4 example) , but in mine it is bad luck to talk about something you didnt won yet.
Congratulations Caruana!

I don;t understand why Carlsen is still playing...

Group B:
Caruana saves us from an eBay auction from Short, and Motylev ensures both leaders lose. So Caruana at +4, and a pack of three (Short, Motylev, Kasimdzhanov at +3). Sasikiran loses his 7th... maybe he'll get demoted, and we'll have get a 2700 in C Group next year.

Sasi may not be 2700 next year. He's a brilliant player and tenacious worker but his nerves are weak..

Too bad there is no eBay auction after all. If I had gotten that spot, I would have guaranteed to provide at least 10, probably 13 decisive games next year - but don't ask me to win one of them ! Iturrizaga, Leon Hoyos or Gupta would fare a bit better, but not much in my opinion.

Anyway, +5 -2 =7 from the surprise winner Karjakin (I mean, a bit surprising that there was a sole winner in the end) isn't too bad either.

Funny that (near-)tailenders affected the outcome in both the A and B groups. Wang Yue even moved up to a 'reasonable' place in the final table by beating Carlsen. And Sasikiran didn't win much (a bit of an understatement), but he won against Short .... .

Finally @Manu: not entirely clear what you are referring too. To me it seems that Short didn't do much talking by himself, only other people were talking about him (as prospective winner of the B group) a lot. And maybe the organizers will embarass (?) Short and invite him into next year's A group anyway!?

Oops, slight counting error, Karjakin score +5 -2 =6

Poor old Nosh. Nice middlegame, missed a nice underpromotion win, then the perpetual and finally lost.

Oh well, like he said, at least his rating will go up a few points...

Grand Slam is now 5 tournaments strong, Karjakin and Topalov playing in Bilbao as winners of Corus and Nanjin.
Almost a fact that another south-american countrie joins the Slam, i hope it is as they say and the new venue is in my country .
That would mean that ill get to see the GS in person , he he he.

who is nosh ? :)


Nigel Short

Is it mandatory to refer to him as "Sir Nosh?"

Not yet, it isn't.

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    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 31, 2009 9:30 PM.

    Corus 09 r11: Everybody Leads Again, Again was the previous entry in this blog.

    Corus 09 Final: Karjakin Stands Alone is the next entry in this blog.

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